Jul 292015
 

“Your statues are wonderful; therefore i obey them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  Direct my footsteps according to Your Word.”  Psalm 119:129-130; 133a

The running path makes all the difference.  I am picky when it comes to where I run.  I choose the path based on multiple questions:  Am I able to run with a view of nature around me (in other words, as little cars, city noise/smells as possible)?  Am I able to have a small amount of distractions?  Do my feet have space to run without being crowded to “walk the line”?  Is there dirt or pavement beneath my feet (because I would prefer dirt)?  Is it well lit (if I am going on a night or early morning run)?

I think I am so picky about where I run because I have made the mistake of choosing poorly before and I don’t want to “go down that road” again.  One path I chose I will never forget.  I chose it because it was conveniently located right outside my husband’s office and I only had a limited time frame.  At the beginning it seemed it would be easy and comfortable since I knew the area around his office well.  But it was anything but easy and comfortable.  I ended up having to tip toe my way around multiple sticker bushes because the path had not been well kept.  I tripped multiple times because of big boulders in the way.  After this path, I was scratched, bruised and stressed.  The running path makes all the difference.

When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.
José N. Harris 

The difference between choosing God’s path and choosing the world’s path makes all the difference as well.  The world’s path may seem easy, comfortable, and convenient, but just like my “i will never forget nightmare path”, it is marked by sin, which takes us down the road of selfish ambition, depression, anxiety, and ultimately leads to death.  Eternal death.  Not a real uplifting path overall, when you see what the end of it is, but it is surprisingly appealing at the beginning of it.

I am thankful our God has a designated path for each of us.  It is marked by life and light.  It is not one without trouble and pain, but along the way there is joy.  Peace.  Purpose.  And in the end it leads to life.  Eternal life.

We get the opportunity to choose God’s running path or the world’s running path each day.  We step with our feet in obedience to God’s commands and Word or we step with our feet in obedience with our selfish sinful desires of the flesh.

I find when I am not spending time in God’s Word, this culture has a way of sneaking into my mind and heart and beckoning me to think and act for myself.  To be concerned with earthly things rather than heavenly, Kingdom things.  Jesus even reprimanded Peter at one point saying in Mark 8, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  Because our flesh is in constant battle with our spirit, we NEED to devote time to talk with God and read and think through His Word of truth.

When we are at a crossroads and do not know what path to choose, we can also have comfort that God WILL show us His good, in fact best path.  Scripture says His Word is light.  And so we can have confidence that His light will open and close doors, in His way and timing so we are not left to choose on our own.  In times of waiting on the Lord, it is not helpful to entertain fears in the now or the future.  Waiting times are an opportunity to be who we were made to be.  A faithful servant.  To actually put our feet, mind, and heart where our mouth is and Live.  By.  Faith.  Not sure of what is ahead.  Not understanding all the closed doors.  But trusting.  That our good God is in control.  And WILL open the well lit, sweet smelling, peace giving, purpose giving path which will ultimately.  End.  In.  Life.

Are your feet stepping on a well lit path or have you taken some sinful, dark steps off of it?  Will you ask God for forgiveness for following your selfish desires of the flesh and to light up the right path He has instead?

Will you rest in waiting on the Lord in His perfect way because “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”  Ephesians 1:11?

What fear will you give over to God today and “Run, Run, Run” to His arms of love where peace is found?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 282015
 

The Kindle addition for my now bestselling book Sing Over Me:  A Women’s Devotional through the Psalms is now only 99 cents on Amazon!  Get your copy today!  May the Lord bless and keep each of you as this summer will soon be coming to a close.  Thinking of how I can make some more sweet memories with my family and my prayer is the same for you my sister’s!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 212015
 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:7

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:19

Getting back into exercising.  Is.  Not.  Easy.  Or fun.  After being on what felt like “house arrest” because this pregnancy sickness took me out of all things active, I am finally starting to ease my way back into our norm (whatever that is).  My “norm” looks something like daily dishes, laundry on Monday’s, texts to friend’s in order to sync schedules for various kid free and kid included activities, Pinterest pin dinners and the shopping for needed ingredients, a daily work out, and time with my Father/in the Word with my latest devotional book.  But trying to get back into the “norm” has been harder than I may have anticipated.  And I am recognizing some of my “norm” must change with a given season-and as challenging and uncomfortable as this may feel, I must surrender.  To God.  And His “norm” He has for me in my now.

I am learning to succumb and even thank Jesus for His new norm for me in this season (And you can too).

Here are my 3 “out with the old, in with His new” daily reality:  

1.  I am embracing a new routine-You have no idea how it pains me to write the following statement:  “I went on a walk a couple days ago”.  You, see, only woosies walk (and I so apologize for offending you if you are a walker-I understand my thinking is scewed and I am in need of heavy counseling for my flawed attitude.)  But you must forgive me. Because I am a runner in heart, body, and mind.  But the run wasn’t workin’ friends.  When I tried my old running “norm” with my daughter the other morning, I lost my lunch.  Literally.  And so you have to know.  My pride.  Was.  Shot.  As I put on my running shoes.  Stepped out of my front door. And got my speed walk on.  Pumping arms and all.

Thank you Jesus for Your new daily routine norms you have for me.

2.  I am willing to make changes in my attitude, activity preferences, how I spend my time in order to love others like Jesus does-You have no idea how it pains me to write the next following statement:  “We have a lizard living in our house”.  My oldest daughter is one with bugs.  Snakes.  Digging in the dirt for treasures.  And I would never have pictured myself encouraging these hobbies.  But now I am embracing them (the hobbies and yes, even the lizard).  Our God is about intimate relationship with us.  And if we are to love Him, we will love others.  And a part of loving those around us is caring about what they care about.  It’s not enough to be apart of the activities/hobbies I like or “get”.  The Lord has given me a new sense of laying down my selfish agenda, to build a home for what seems to be just about the ugliest creature I have ever seen (for instance).

Thank you Jesus for how you made each of us unique and how you have called us to love and appreciate one another.

3.  I am saying “Yes” to the Spirit nudges/Jesus’ agenda for my day, even when I am physically and emotionally weak-While speed walking the other day, I spent time thanking God for His beautiful creation.  I asked Him for strength as I still struggled to keep certain foods down and have strength to be the Mom and wife and friend and Daughter of the King He had called me to be.  I asked Him to show me how to “minister in my weakness”.  Right after this thought I saw a sign in front of me for a garage sale and underneath it said, “Benefiting missions”.  I passed the sign, wanting to keep with my fast walking pace and knowing I didn’t have any money on me to buy anything.  But then an idea, I believe to be a “nudge” from the Lord came into my thoughts, “you should go and pray for them”.  Hmmm.  Feeling pregnant.  Feeling uncomfortable.  Mainly for multiple reasons- I don’t even know the people at the garage sale, let alone if the “missions” the sale is supporting is even one I agree with.  I am needing to get stick to my exercise agenda and be home in a timely fashion.  But the prayer idea did not go away.  And i had just agreed to God to allow Him to do “ministry in my weakness”.  So I went.  And awkwardly browsed the sale.  With no means to buy anything.  But saw a girl in the corner putting out baby clothes.  I asked her if this was her garage sale and she said “yes”.  Long story short-I found out she was going on a week long mission trip.  Asked her if I could pray for her.  Did.  And she said, “Wow, that was so encouraging” as I left.  But truely-I was the one who was the most encouraged.  To be apart of God using me in my weakness.  To see saying “yes” to God’s nudges in ALL seasons only fills us with joy.

Thank you Jesus for Your new ministry norms you have for me.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 072015
 

 

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.   As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

I was driving back from a “new beginnings” venture.  It was a park meet and greet follow up after our first preview service of the church plant.  Anytime a change, whether good or challenging, is on the horizon or befalls us unexpectedly, I begin to go more into my head than my heart.  So my drive home was just that-a lot of head brainstorming-with me, myself and I-what should can we expect our role to be in the church?  How can we get the marketing just right so people will come check it out?  Are we doing enough?  (Maybe you can recall or currently find yourself in a place of change and can relate with the brain crazy taking over.)  My heart was beating fast.  And if I am being honest, my curiosity was quickly moving to frustration and anger.  Because I didn’t.  Know.  What.  Was.  Next.  I wasn’t.  In.  Control.  And I seemed to be swimming upstream in search of peace.

My tunnel vision was called to a sudden stop as an unexpected brilliance of colors filled the left side of the sky.  This sunset was bright, bold, beautiful, it was lacking in nothing less than spectacular.  It was difficult to keep my eyes looking forward on the road when God’s firework show was happening in a different direction.  I happily welcomed the distraction from my current agitated heart state and under my breath I commented to the Creator, “Show off!”  (And He is the One who actually has the right to do it, I quickly recognized.)

My gaze had to quickly switch back to the road (go figure).  But even though this was a familiar route, I couldn’t help but recognize how many road signs I kept passing.  All were dictating to me what I could expect up ahead.  10 miles to Salem, strawberry U-pick in 2 miles, horse riding lessons next right, 20 mile an hour turn, and so on.

I realized 2 deep truths about my personality/flesh tendencies as I gazed out the window:

1-I want detailed, quick, step 1,2,3 “signs” (like I saw along the road) from God to make minor and major life decisions.  And if I don’t see the “signs” in my timing I easily get agitated and upset. I place too high a value in knowing the destination.

2-Unfulfilled expectations, circumstances which throw a kink in “my plan/ways”, also cause a little “fight or flight” feelings to arouse in me:  Causing me to say, “I am so consumed, angry and distracted in my mind and heart with this trial, pain, decision I am ineffective for the Kingdom” or” Well, I will just quit this work/friendship/ministry”.

I asked God some heart felt questions in this soul searching episode:

Lord, why are your road signs somewhat criptic?  Why are your road signs seemingly spaced real far apart?  Why do my emotions overwhelm so quickly when unfulfilled expectations arouse?  Why is waiting needed? 

Immediately, as if in perfect timing to my questions, the “show off sunset” creeped around enough for me to catch one last breathtaking glimpse.  And I heard my God respond to my heart and mind with this truth, “You always know the sun is going to set, but you do not know how it will set.”  Would it be a primarily pink sky with whispy clouds intermixed?  Would it have purple and red and orange with no clouds in the sky?  I can’t anticipate or expect how the sunset will look on any given night, but I do not even doubt for a minute that the sun will just keep hanging out at the top of the sky.  And so I wait.  And watch.  For the unforseen beauty to unfold before my eyes.  Always good.  But always unknown as to the specific color scheme until it arrives.

Maybe you have caught the spiritual analogy our Father was speaking loud and clear to me through this sunset.  It was a revelation to me.  The faithfulness, goodness, and love of God is like the undeniable truth that the sun is going to set each night.  We never have to doubt our God’s character and His living and active Word, the Bible.  In other words we can bank our trust in our Gods ever unfolding plan for us just like we can bank our trust in the fact that the sun will set tonight.  But a life of faith in Jesus means we do not know the how of our road ahead, just as we do not know the how of the color scheme/cloud pattern of the sunset tonight.  It means we bank on Jesus-THE way, THE truth, and THE life and we rest in His control.  His way.  And His unexpected orchestration.

Maybe you are in a time of unfulfilled expectations.  Wondering what God is doing, or if He is doing anything.  Angry with the circumstances/people around you. Questioning, still waiting where the road “signs” of the next are.  Of the how’s of our now and future-my prayer is that your strength would increase, not decrease as you wait on God. That your hope and trust in God’s good plan for you would increase, not decrease.  That your peace and joy in Jesus would increase and anger, frustration with the circumstances/people would decrease.

And may we wait.  In expectation.  For how God will unfold His great plan for us.  With a “show off sunset”.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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